1.5 million Beijing cars stay home for Olympics
by Alan Harten
July 22, 2008
The motoring population of Beijing awoke yesterday to new rigorous enforcement of new regulations aimed at reducing traffic pollution and relieve congestion on the streets of the capital in preparation for the Olympic Games.
The traffic registered a remarkable decline on the first working day since the start of the legislation, which requires private cars to travel on alternate days depending on their registration number, odd or even.
This measure, which will be maintained until September 20-after the end of the Paralympic Games, does not apply between midnight and three o’clock in the morning, stated the department of transport, quoted by the official news agency Xinhua, without explaining the reasons.
The legislation stipulations will keep out of circulation more than one and a half million cars daily, but will excuse, among others, Olympic and emergency vehicles, which since July 25 has 265 kilometres of special lanes to facilitate the mobility of athletes, organisers and press.
Beijing is one of world’s most polluted cities and if that wasn’t enough every new day see’s no less than 1,200 new vehicles join the cities congestion.
The city is estimated to be home to around 3.3 million vehicles, and for the next two months around half will be left parked at home each day, dramatically cutting city congestion, easing the flow of traffic for athletes and tourists as well as reducing the crippling pollution which is intended to make visitors stay a more pleasant one but also assist the athletes performance by not making them breath smog filled oxygen.
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